PC World Sued for Allegedly Inflating Circ Numbers
Similar to its previous suit, Teletype Co. Inc. has accused PC World and one of its distributors of inflating circulation figures to charge higher advertising fees. Once again, ABC is charged as a conspirator. "This complaint is virtually identical to the previously filed complaint," said ABC spokesman Neal Lulofs. "Therefore, ABC has no further comment other than to say the organization’s inclusion in the new filing is equally without merit." Lulofs says Teletype has never been a member of ABC. Howard Sholkin, a spokesman with PC World’s parent company IDG, said today the company does not comment on pending litigation. The original complaint accused Laptop of participating in a "check-swapping and dumping scheme" with distributor Inflight to inflate circulation figures for Laptop by falsely reporting "tens of thousands of copies of Laptop as paid circulation each month that were actually given away free to readers or destroyed and never delivered to readers." It alleges that Laptop’s parent company, Bedford Communications would pay Inflight "to accept delivery of the magazines each month in exchange for paperwork showing that Inflight had accepted" copies for paid distribution.
Two Bedford officials are facing criminal mail fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, the same court in which Teletype has filed its civil suits.
The two suits come after months of controversy surrounding circ practices, in particular the participation in "check-swapping" arrangements;a form of sponsorship program where a sponsor purchases copies of magazines and in turn bills publishers an equal amount for services rendered. ABC disqualified paid circ from Inflight’s sponsorship program last July and changed the rules regarding paid sponsorship copies. No court date has been set for either case. Teletype’s attorney said the defendants will now have a chance to respond to the allegations. "As with most lawsuits, this one will have a specific path that it follows and it’s not a very quick one," he added.